Gettysburg Battles in NCAA Opener, Falls Short Against CNU

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. Gettysburg College battled against a tough Christopher Newport University team in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament as the game came right down to the wire, but the Captains edged the Bullets 82-78 in front of a loud and supportive crowd inside Bream Gym Friday night.
"Even though we loss, we feel like we won," said Head Coach Nate Davis. "We battled, laid it all out there, and never gave up. That is all that I could ever ask for as a coach."
The Bullets certainly did as they went head-to-head with Christopher Newport, who has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 20 times in program history. The final quarter never saw a stretch of more than six points apart.
Gettysburg opened the fourth period with a 10-4 run as senior Emma Dorshimer (Jenkintown, Pa./Jenkintown) drained two threes in the run, making it 72-66. The Captains rattled back as Sondra Fan scored seven of the teams 10 points over the next two minutes to pull ahead 76-72.
Junior Emma Hahner (Forest Hill, Md./C. Milton Wright) and junior Ashley Gehrin (Chester, N.J./West Morris Mendham) both made lay-ups to help the Bullets come within two at the 2:51 marker. Neither team notched another point until 54 seconds were remaining as freshman Tori Yantsos (Rockville, Md./Holy Child) stole the ball and was fouled on the way for a lay-up. She made the pair of clutch free throws to tie the game at 78-78.
Jessica Daguilh made a lay-up 20 seconds later to hold the lead again. After a missed lay-up by Hahner with 13 seconds left, Dorshimer fouled Kiana Kirkland, sending her to the charity stripe where she made one of her two attempts. With the ball in the Bullets hands, Dorshimer took the trey from the left corner, but the shot fell just short of the basket. Another Bullet foul sent Sondra Fan to free throw line where she made the first and missed the second. Dorshimer grabbed the rebound and ran down the court to jack up a half-court shot that went left of the rim.
It was the program's seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament, and it was the first time in 34 years that the Bullets made it in back-to-back seasons. Gettysburg finished the season with a 22-6 record for the third consecutive season and concluded the Centennial Conference with an 18-2 mark as the regular season champion and runner-up in the league tournament.
"I am so proud of this team the way that they battled today," said Davis. "It is the best that I have ever felt after a loss, I can promise you that, which is saying something," he continued.  "It just says a lot about this team, their tenacity, and their willingness to fight until the very end."
Gehrin paced the Bullets with 18 points, shooting 8-of-14 from the field and three assists. Dorshimer accumulated 14 points, including knocking down 4-of-8 from three-point range, and five rebounds. Freshman Carly Rice (Pennington, N.J./The Pennington School) led the reserves with 10 points, going 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Freshman Tori Yantsos (Rockville, Md./Holy Child) dished out a team-high five assists.
Four players in total netted double-figures for the Captains (24-5). Kiana Kirkland led the team with 26 points, making 4-of-9 from three-point land and seven rebounds. Sondra Fan chipped in 15 points, while Zhara Tanner and Jessica Daguilh added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Gettysburg made 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the floor, 13-of-15 from the free throw line, and tallied nine three-pointers. Christopher Newport went 30-of-68 (44.1 percent) from the field, 12-of-17 from the charity stripe, and knocked down 10 threes. The Captains won the tight rebounding battle, 40-36.
The loss ended an amazing career for the dynamic senior duo of point guard Teal Tasker (Chambersburg, Pa./Mercersburg Academy) and Dorshimer. They have led the Bullets to the most successful four-year period in program history, which includes an 87-23 record, three-straight conference title game appearances, three-straight 20-win seasons, two trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament, and a conference championship. Dorshimer closed her Gettysburg tenure as the program leader in three-pointers made (229) and second in school history and sixth in conference history with 1,683 points.
"Being able to grow the program in the way that we have is a really good feeling," said Dorshimer. "The players coming in and the players that we have on the team are all incredibly talented and have the power to do exactly what we have done over the past four years."
This year's squad had eight freshmen, four juniors, and two sophomores on the team, all of whom will be returning next season.
"Everyone has that grit and that fight," said Tasker when asked about the future of the program. "I do not think that they will have any issues continuing on with the legacy as long as they keep working hard day in and day out."
In the first round game, Mount Saint Mary College edged Westfield State University in a close-knit contest by the final score of 85-80. Lauren Desrats led the Knights with 19 points five rebounds, and three assists. Lucy Barrett finished with 21 points, four rebounds, and three steals to pace the Owls.
Christopher Newport will take on Mount Saint Mary in the sound round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Gettysburg, Pa.